New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi arrived here on Friday morning after concluding his five-nation tour to Afghanistan, Qatar, Switzerland, the U.S. and Mexico, beginning with his visit to Herat on Sunday, on a high note.
He was received at the Palam Airport by a delegation of Bharatiya Janata Party leaders
The Prime Minister and Afghan President Dr. Ashraf Ghani launched the ‘Afghan-India Friendship Dam’, earlier known as the Salma Dam, followed by a lunch hosted by President Ghani.
The Prime Minister, who arrived in Qatar in the evening, visited a workers camp. He interacted with the workers; he saw the medical facilities that are being provided to them, the kind of treatment facilities that are available to them.
On Monday, the Prime Minister started the day with a meeting with business leaders. After that, we went to the Emiri Diwan, where he had a meeting with the Emir of Qatar, which was followed by signing of seven agreements.
His last engagement there was a meeting with the Father Emir, which was also a very constructive, very positive meeting, said Ministry of External Affairs Spokesperson Vikas Swarup while detailing the media about his engagements in Qatar.
The Prime Minister also had a meeting with members of the Indian community at a reception hosted by the Indian Ambassador, following which he departed for Switzerland in the evening.
The next day, the Prime Minister arrived in Switzerland, where he held a meeting with the President of the Swiss Confederation, followed by a business meeting and then he left Switzerland for the United States, where he directly arrived in Washington at the invitation of President Barack Obama on Monday.
On June 6, the Prime Minister went to the Arlington Cemetery for a wreath laying, and then he attended two events at Blair House, where he was staying. The two events included a meeting with heads of American think tanks and the other was a function involving the repatriation of cultural property.
Briefing the media, Indian Ambassador to the U.S. Arun Kumar Singh said in terms of the ceremony at Arlington, it was broadly divided in two parts. First part was laying of wreath at the Memorial of Unknown Soldier. From the US side, the US Defense Secretary Ashton Carter was also present and then the Prime Minister laid wreath at the memorial for those who were on the Colombia Shuttle, where as an Indian origin astronaut, Kalpana Chawla, was also involved. “At the event, we had representatives from the families and relatives of Kalpana Chawla, who were present. Then other Indian origin astronaut Sunita Williams was also present on the occasion and some representatives from NASA were present because cooperation between India and the U.S. in space has been important area of cooperation,” he said.
Elaborating on an interaction with heads of number of think-tanks, he said these think-tanks that were represented there were from Brookings, Council on Foreign Relations, Centre for American Progress, The Atlantic Council, Hudson Institute, Centre for National Interest, Global Energy Capital, Carnegie Endowment, The Asia Group, Pew Research Centre, The US Institute of Peace and The Foundation for Defence of Democracies.
“So this is sort of think-tanks representing a whole spectrum of opinion here and the aim of the interaction was to understand from them, how they see global trends in the coming years, the challenges and what US and India could work together. If you recall among the templates that the Prime Minister has articulated is ‘What can US and India do together for the World?’ and that was really the theme,” said Singh, adding that it was in that framework that different current global issues were discussed in a medium and longer term perspective and we looked at opportunities and ways for us to be able to work together.
Now, in terms of the ceremony for returning of a number of cultural artefacts, 12 pieces were identified as being ready to be handed back to the government and people of India, said Singh.
“These are significant because some of them date back to a thousand years, from the period of the Chola Dynasty. Some of them date back to more than two thousand years, some terracotta pieces and others. So some very significant items have been handed over to us and of course now they will be repatriated to India,” he added.
On June 7, Prime Minister Modi held a meeting with President Barack Obama, followed by a lunch that President Obama hosted for him.
In the evening, the Prime Minister met business leaders in the US and addressed the US-India Business Council. Between the two, between the President’s meeting and the business meeting at the end of the day, Defence Secretary Ashton Carter called on the Prime Minister.
Marking their third major bilateral summit, the Prime Minister and the President reviewed the deepening strategic partnership between the United States and India. They pledged to pursue new opportunities to bolster economic growth and sustainable development, promote peace and security at home and around the world, strengthen inclusive, democratic governance and respect for universal human rights, and provide global leadership on issues of shared interest.
The leaders welcomed the significant progress made in bilateral relations between India and the United States during their tenure, in accordance with the roadmaps set out in the Joint Statements issued during Prime Minister Modi’s visit to the United States in September 2014 and President Obama’s visit to India in January 2015.
The leaders affirmed the increasing convergence in their strategic perspectives and emphasised the need to remain closely invested in each other’s security and prosperity.
On June 8, the Prime Minister devoted the forenoon to the US Congress, meeting the Speaker, the Congressional leadership, and delivering an address to the joint meeting of the US Congress.
It was followed by a lunch hosted by the Speaker in honour of the Prime Minister and a reception jointly hosted by the House and Senate Committees on Foreign Relations and the India Caucus.
In the afternoon, the Prime Minister took off to Mexico City, where he had a meeting with President Enrique PeÃ±a Nieto.
During their meeting, President Enrique PeÃ±a Nieto and Prime Minister Modi recognised the opportunities to define the path of the India-Mexico Privileged Partnership for the 21st Century that allows the growth of bilateral relations in economic field, in science and technology and in the most important issues of the global agenda reflecting a broad convergence of long-term political, economic and strategic goals.
President Enrique PeÃ±a Nieto elaborated on the structural reforms undertaken in Mexico to promote economic growth and development. On his part, Prime Minister Modi highlighted the initiatives undertaken by his Government for the economic growth and the improvement of standard of living of the people.
Later, the Prime Minister attended a dinner hosted by President Enrique PeÃ±a Nieto and after the dinner, the Prime Minister took off from Mexico to return to India en route Frankfurt, Germany.